Sketch for the set design of Crossing the Andes, Bolivar Opera, circa 1949
Gouache and pencil on paper
26.4 x 33.5 cm
Donated by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier
Musée national Fernand léger Inv. MNFL 96042
Fernand Léger and the composer Darius Milhaud crossed paths again in the US in 1943 and enjoyed working together on an opera inspired by the “Libertador” Simon Bolivar – hero of the play by Jules Supervielle. The opera did not premiere until 12th May 1950 at the Opéra de Paris. Léger made large canvases as a backdrop to the scene in which Simon Bolivar’s troops climb over the Andes. He transposed the animated scenery of the popular theatres from the turn of the century at an enormous scale on to the opera stage. Painting alone provides the two-dimensions of the scene, other mobile décors for the earthquake episode and all of the costumes show how original Léger’s stage inventions were.